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In this article Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, explores what settlement agreements are and gives some tips on what you should do if you have been offered one

What are settlement agreements? A quick guide

An employee has the right to bring certain claims against their employer, whether such claims can be brought under statute (for example, unfair dismissal or discrimination claims), contract (for example, a failure to pay a bonus), or tort (for example, negligence claims). Such claims may arise on the employee’s recruitment, during the course of their employment, or upon termination. In certain circumstances an employer may wish to agree to provide the employee with benefits (e.g. a payment of compensation, a reference, sometimes an apology) in return for the employee’s agreement that they will waive their right to bring such claims, or withdraw them if they have already issued a claim. This may happen where employment is continuing, but it is most common for the parties to do so where employment has terminated (or is about to do so).

Employees can only agree to settle or waive most statutory claims by one of the following means:

  • If an agreement is reached through ACAS (and recorded in a COT3 agreement); or
  • If such agreement is recorded in a settlement agreement that complies with various statutory requirements (for example, the agreement must be in writing and the employee must receive independent legal advice on the terms and effect of the agreement)

Only certain statutory claims may be settled by a settlement agreement including, among others:

  • Claims for unfair dismissal;
  • Claims for a statutory redundancy payment;
  • Claims for discrimination, harassment, victimisation or detriment;
  • Claims for detriment or dismissal because the employee has ‘blown the whistle’;
  • Claims in relation to the national minimum wage;
  • Claims in relation to unlawful deduction of wages

Until July 2013 statutory agreements of this nature were renamed from “compromise agreements” to “settlement agreements”, although it is not clear why this change was made.

What should you do if you have been offered a settlement agreement?

If you’ve been offered a settlement agreement by your employer then one of the first things that you should normally do is fine a suitable specialist employment solicitor to advise you on your agreement: your employer will normally cover an agreed level of legal fees for the advice and you must receive legal advice from an independent legal adviser on the terms and effect of the agreement for the settlement agreement to be binding. However, it is up to you to choose how much or how little work you want your solicitor to do: most employees will, in my experience, want their solicitor to handle the negotiations on the agreement as well as the advice, but in some circumstances the employee may be best-placed to negotiate the terms of the agreement themselves (for example if they have a good existing relationship with senior management handling the negotiations or if they wish to keep the costs of the negotiation as low as possible).

Why should you choose Redmans to advise you on your settlement agreement?

Redmans have advised thousands of clients on their settlement agreements, and our specialist employment solicitors have dealt with agreements worth £1,000 to settlement agreements worth over £1 million.

If you want to discuss your settlement agreement further please contact our enquiries team by telephone on 020 3397 3601 or email Redmans using the following email address: enquiries@redmans.co.uk.

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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Testimonials

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Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 4 days ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

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Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

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Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

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Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

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Anonymous

Very good service

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Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

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Davinder P

Good Service

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Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

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Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

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Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

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Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

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